Review staff writer
The men’s cross country currently team awaits the return to competition when it will host the Linfield Open at Joe Dancer Park on Sept. 26.
For the first time in four years, the team will host a cross country meet.
In years past, scheduling problems with the local city parks and recreation department prevented the college from hosting home meets.
The biggest challenge for the school remains working to fit the meet into the youth athletics schedule.
After a slow start at each of the first three meets, the team has started to intensify training sessions.
“The hardest workouts are the weeks we don’t have meets,” junior Shawn Fisher, who helped Linfield place fourth at the Lewis & Clark Invitational on Sept. 13, said.
Fisher led the team at the meet, finishing in ninth place with a time of 26 minutes, 13 seconds on the 8k course. Junior Tyler Davis was second on the team with a 26:38 finish.
With three meets left before the conference championship in November, Fisher said he believes the team has a better chance of placing higher at the end of the season than last year’s team did.
“Last year we kind of had a divided team,” he said.
With two-week blocks between most meets, the team trains together to keep up its intensity.
The men have an optimistic outlook even as the fall weather awaits them.
“It doesn’t affect us too much,” Fisher said, adding that the team is prepared for the condition changes.
Assistant coach Travis Olson concurs with Fisher about the weather not being a problem.
“It’s not going to impact the team,” Olson said. It’s a level playing field.”
The team has remained, for the most, part healthy during the season, Olson said.
“Chris McIssac will run at the next meet,” he said of the runner who was injured earlier in the season.
Olson said he believes McIssac will make an immediate impact on the team’s next race because of his experience from last season.
Olson said he remains confident that the team will perform well at the home meet but has a few lingering concerns.
“There are lots of teams we have not seen,” he said.
Olson understands the reality of going to meets where the unfamiliarity of some teams and runners leaves huge questions about the race.
Olson said he felt confident about the possibility of the team having a strong placing at the home meet.
With few injuries and a positive outlook toward coming competitions, the team hopes to flourish.